Commute vs. Pleasure Car Insurance

Discover the differences between car insurance for pleasure vs. commuting use. Author Icon Written by Trusted Choice Author Icon
Written by Trusted Choice

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Reviewer: Jeffrey Green Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
Reviewer: Jeffrey Green
Reviewed by Jeffrey Green

Jeff Green has held a variety of sales and management roles at life insurance companies, Wall street firms, and distribution organizations over his 40-year career.  He was previously Finra 7,24,66 registered and held life insurance licenses in multiple states. He is a graduate of Stony Brook University.

Handsome man in his car driving. Pleasure use vs commuter car insurance.

When it comes to auto insurance, the way you use your car can affect your rates. Are you using your car for commuting or for pleasure? Does it make a difference?

The term “commute use” refers to a vehicle that you use daily to drive to work or school, while “pleasure” refers to a vehicle you drive only occasionally or for personal, recreational purposes.

It’s important to understand the differences between the two when you shop for insurance so you can get the best rate and the protection you need.

What’s the Difference between Pleasure Use vs. Commuter Use?

For the most part, there isn’t much difference between pleasure and commuter use insurance. However, the way you use your car is one of the factors insurance companies use to determine your rate.

When you talk to an insurance company or an agent, be honest about your driving habits so you can get the policy and coverage that’s right for you. Generally speaking, you’ll pay less for pleasure usage than for commuter usage.

Commute Use at a Glance

Using your car to commute doesn’t have to mean you’re racking up big miles. It simply means that you use your car regularly for activities like:

  • Driving to work
  • Driving to school
  • Daily carpools
  • Daily errands

Keep in mind this doesn’t cover you if you use your car for business purposes. Whether you use your car to drive for a ride-sharing app, for deliveries, or another business purpose, if you use your car for these purposes, you will need to get commercial auto insurance.

Pleasure Use at a Glance

If you only drive your car occasionally – and not for a daily commute – you probably only need pleasure use auto insurance.

This usage includes things like:

  • Going to the grocery store once a week
  • Taking your kids to sports practice or school-related activities
  • Occasional errands
  • Occasional trips

In general, if you drive fewer than 7,500 miles per year (about 20 miles each day), your insurance company will cover your vehicle for pleasure use.

If you have a classic car (older than 25 years) that you use for occasional pleasure drives, you might consider getting classic car insurance, which is cheaper than regular auto insurance.

What if You Use Your Car for Both Commuting and Pleasure Purposes?

It’s not unusual to use a vehicle both for commuting and for pleasure. If this is the way you drive, it’s best to answer “commuting” as your primary vehicle usage.

You might wonder why it makes a difference. Spending more time on the road increases your chances of having an accident or other damage to your vehicle. Be honest when the insurance company asks how often you drive and for what purpose.

Not being truthful could end up costing you. If you say you don’t drive your car to work so you’ll get a lower rate, don’t drive it to work. If you’re involved in an accident on your commute to work and you’re paying a rate based on pleasure driving, your insurance company could refuse your claim.


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Why Do Insurance Companies Ask if I Drive for Commute or Pleasure?

It all comes down to risk. Insurance companies ask whether you use your car to commute or for pleasure so they can determine your level of risk.

Spending more time on the road can mean a higher risk level, because you increase your chances of getting into an accident or breaking down on the road. Of course, annual mileage isn’t the only factor that’s used to determine your risk level. Other factors include your age, the make and model of your car, and your driving record. An independent insurance agent can provide a personalized quote that takes all these variables into account.

Cost of Car Insurance for Commute vs. Pleasure Use

Because the level of risk is different for commuting and driving for pleasure, insurance rates are generally different, too. If you drive only occasionally – and the insurance company classifies your driving as pleasure usage – you’ll pay less.

How much you’ll save depends on the insurance carrier along with other factors like the type of car you drive and your driving record. An independent insurance agent can get you a personalized quote based on your vehicle usage.

Insurance companies classify vehicle use in a few different ways. You’ll generally pay the lowest premiums for farm usage and the highest for business usage.      

Use of Vehicle Average Annual Premium
Farm $1,760
Work, one-way commute (less than 10 miles) $1,778
Work, one-way commute (10-15 miles) $1,784
Work, one-way commute (15+ miles) $1,799
Business $2,012

Because costs can vary by provider, it’s best to speak with an independent insurance agent who can provide you with several options.

Commute vs. Pleasure Cost by Insurance Carrier

While the cost of coverage varies from provider to provider, here are average yearly insurance premiums based on vehicle usage. 

Vehicle Use Average Annual Premium
Farm $1,446
Pleasure $1,529
Personal/commuting $1,542
Business $1,703

Depending on the carrier, you can save between $3 and $15 per year if your vehicle is insured for pleasure use.

Commute vs. Pleasure Rates by Insurance Company

Insurance Company Vehicle Use Avg. Annual Premium
Allstate Work, one-way commute
(10-15 miles)
Allstate Pleasure $2,414
Farmers Work, one-way commute
(10-15 miles)
Farmers Pleasure $1,786
GEICO Work, one-way commute
(10-15 miles)
GEICO Pleasure $1,542
Nationwide Work, one-way commute
(10-15 miles)
Nationwide Pleasure $1,476
Progressive Work, one-way commute
(10-15 miles)
Progressive Pleasure $1,887
State Farm Work, one-way commute
(10-15 miles)
State Farm Pleasure $1,569
USAA Work, one-way commute
(10-15 miles)
USAA Pleasure $1,365

Note: Rates listed are for a 30-year-old single male driving a Honda Accord. Your rates will vary depending on your age, gender, driving history, the car you drive, and who insures it. For a personalized quote, contact an independent insurance agent.

Finding a Car Insurance Quote for Commute or Pleasure

If you’re looking for affordable auto insurance, you don’t have to go it alone. Whether you use your vehicle for commuting or pleasure, an independent insurance agent can help you find the best possible policy for your needs.

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